Now i am reading your questions and i don’t know how to start answering. Is difficult to write about myself, very difficult haha. But i will start and let’s see where is going…

I was born in Saranda on 1st of December 1987, yeah, soon i am celebrating my 28th birthday. Years are passing fast, faster than we think. I am still living with my family. My father, Stak, coming from a catholic family from north Albania and working as mechanic . My mother, Xhevo, coming from a muslim family originally from Cameria (region in northwestern Greece. Malvina’s family is coming from there too) is making handmade rugs and carpets and selling second hand clothes. And my younger sister, Jona that next week, if everything goes well, is starting her master studies in Tirana.

I gave you some info about my family as for me these three persons are the most important, valuable and lovely persons in my life. They are my life.

Both of my parents couldn’t go in university during communist regime. My father because was the youngest son of a big family living in a mountain village and my mom because she was the niece of a political prisoner. They started to work hard since they were 14-15 y.o and their dream was that me and my sister to be good students and finish the university with good grades. I did it. My sister is on the right way too. It was not easy. Still is not easy.

I finished the high school in Saranda and I applied for University. It was my dream to study Law and yes i made it. I received the right to register in Faculty of Law in Tirana. So i spent 4 years studying in Tirana and i was graduated with what we call it mid grade 8.5 (10 is max) and 9 the Diploma Thesis. This was the reward for all the sacrifices of my parents. It was not easy to study in Tirana. Sometimes my parents didn’t have a job. Sometimes had to work with long long hours. Or doing second jobs. The salaries were and are very low in Albania. I was doing sometimes some part time jobs but i couldn’t work more otherwise would be difficult to have good grades. I was living in dormitory while most of my friends were doing a more comfortable life renting apartment in Tirana. But after all dormitory life it was a small “army service” for me, just made me stronger.

I finished my studies and i was so optimistic for the future. In Albania, if you want to find a good job you have to have some political connections. I thought i had them. Powerful people made promises that they will help me. I trusted them and waited. At the end i saw that nothing happened. They were just promising and lying. Who would help the son of a poor mechanic ?! I saw that children of powerful and rich people were getting the jobs very easy. For two and half years my father and me knocked in many doors, tried to use every connection but nothing. Just good words for my family, for me, for my diploma. The sky fall over my head. Especially when my father said to me: I am sorry son, i did everything but i couldn’t help you. No, it wasn’t his fault. He helped me a lot. It was the fault of the system. Of the corrupted system. In public administration only child of powerful and rich people were employed. Buying the job position or sponsoring in the political campaigns. In private sector they always asked for experience, or they preferred girls, beautiful girls… So I started to work as waiter in weddings, seller in print house, interviewer in polls even cleaning shrimps from the shell earning 1 Dollar per kilo. And applying for more proper job…that never came.

In this time i was renting an apartment in Tirana with my sister. She was studying Biology. Our parents were helping us too. Actually a lot. I started to volunteer in a youth NGO especially with the disabled children. I also started to travel, taking part in different youth exchanges and training courses. Also started to use Couchsurfing and hosted many travelers in my apartment. I was traveling and learning and having fun too. Was this period that i started to change a lot. To be more open minded, more liberal, to take more care for environment,animals, learn more languages and make friends from all around the world. I learned that money is not everything… but still is something very important. Especially if you live in Albania. In the same NGO i started to work as local coordinator of the European volunteers that were volunteering in different centers with disabled children and doing free city tours in Tirana for couchsurfers. Economic difficulties for me and my family made my stay in Tirana impossible so me and my sister had to go back in Saranda.

For one and half year now i am living in Saranda again after 8 years in Tirana. I worked in tourism field started as receptionist in hotel and i become tourism manager there. I worked also like real estate agent and middle man. Now i am here, in front of the pc writing to you. Again jobless. Maybe until next summer.

Life here is difficult. Especially for young people. 50 thousand Albanians left the country this year to seek asylum in Germany but they are all returned back as Albania is considered safe country of origin so we can’t benefit political asylum. Here if you have money you become richer but if you are poor is difficult to go ahead, no one cares for you :/ Many times i think to leave Albania but we are not in EU so we can’t work in other countries. I have studied law and with my diploma i can’t find a job abroad as i studied general law, almost everything about Albania. So difficult in Albania…difficult to go abroad. My sister applied for the American Lottery. Her boyfriend also. Some of my friends too. Some others are taking Greek passports and going to work in western Europe. Some others are marrying with girls from EU so they can earn EU citizenship. Here most of the young want to leave the country.

My parents are getting old. They did what they could to rise us in the best way. To educate us. The only thing i want is to “repay” that to them by building a house. A normal house. I grew up in a small, wooden, old house. Rain sometimes is dropping inside. The so called toilet is 10 meters away outside. They never washed their hands and face in the morning with warm water as in our house is not a boiler or shower. We still use water pot. Not many people knows about this. They know the educated Saimir, the well dressed (or at least not bad dressed) the one that is having coffees, drinking beers, traveling, the one that likes to play football, that dislikes the politicians but like to speak about politics, the one that speaks English, Greek, understands Italian…y un poco de Espanol. They don’t know how i grew up. How much my parents sacrificed for me. Since  i was child i was dreaming for a good, normal house. I am still dreaming about that. I am sure i will have it one day. I am just worried for my parents…they are getting old. My father next year will be 65, means a pensioner… so i have to build, buy, made… have that house as soon as i can. My parents had to choose between educating me and my sister or build a small house and they choose the education. So now is my duty to do something for the family. But i feel weak. We are not suffering for food. Will never do as i will work whatever…still you can work a lot and a lot but with Albanian salaries is impossible to save 40-50 thousand dollars for the house.

I see that i wrote a lot. Maybe most of what i said is not important or you didn’t asked for that but i wanted to write them. And yes is difficult to write about yourself. After you read all what i wrote let’s keep chatting for some time. Make other questions to me. I can explain you things that maybe sounds strange to you or whatever. I don’t talk for my problems often but i have to do it sometimes.

Ligia, thank you very much for respect and admiration that you have for me and that you are trying to help me. You have a big heart. May God bless you and your beloved people around you 🙂

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